Towards an ethos

Part of the Blogging Futures course blogchain. Feel free to join the conversation!

I want to pull on a thread in this discussion. In his first post, Jared emphasizes a phrase I keep coming back to from Darius Kazemi – Social tools for social problems:

We have a pretty powerful base set of tools for creating relationships, email, links, and to a certain extent social networks like Twitter. What's missing is a mental framework for experimenting with social structures the way we experiment with content, and a set of models for thinking about creating doorways.

Brendan echoes this sentiment by referring to the mental framework that exists above the tangible frameworks that make up the web:

But we can also identify blogging by something less tangible, more of a stance or ethos for written exploration. I tend to think of blogging as “thinking out loud”, a combination of personal essay, journaling, brainstorming and public memo [...] [F]ramed this way, by shared ethos, I think blogging can manifest in a many different shapes than we’re used to, and open up some potent possibilities for collaboration and dialogue.

The last sentiment hits on an interesting premise – shared ethos, different possibilities. It reminds me of a musical genre like Punk. Therein are divergent sounds – the free jazz saxophone in The Stooges, the reggae influence on Bad Brains, and the melting pot sound of The Clash. And yet for all their sonic differences, these bands fall under punk. Why? Because punk is more than a checklist of sounds – it's a shared ethos between musician and listener alike.

This is where a genre like punk can be so empowering. It is built upon an ethos, not on virtuosic skill or having the right equipment. Punk embraces the amateur spirit of music, creating possibilities for people through a DIY attitude.

Again I go back to what Jared wrote:

What's missing is a mental framework for experimenting with social structures the way we experiment with content [...]

Having a useful mental framework should, like punk, enable everyone and anyone to create what Tom calls “Minimum Viable Structures” – ways that we can experiment with blogging infrastructure. It does not have to be technical. It does not have to be fully functional. It can be messy. The point is that we can iterate on it over time, using our mental framework as an inner compass to slowly navigate more towards true north.

I wonder how this ethos can be more fully developed. Tom Critchlow's blogpunk seems like a promising lens from which to build upon.